Storytellers Richard Martin and Craig Jenkins on the joys of reading aloud
“Tell them a story,” his colleagues told Richard Martin, a teacher in primary school in England, when he had to look after 90 noisy children. He made them sit on the floor, and, narrated Cinderella. For the next 90 minutes, their eyes got bigger, ears got broader, jaws dropped and the last thing he heard was the bell ringing.
“That is the magic of a story,” says storyteller Richard Martin. “When children listen to stories, some kind of trance happens transporting them to a different world of their imagination, giving them a body-soul kind of experience.” “They print a picture of their own in their minds,” says Craig Jenkins, also a storyteller from U.K. “When you tell them about a demon or a monster, they close their eyes and start creating the crazy creature, may be with five eyes and 25 legs,” he adds .
“Stories add value to imagination, allows the child to get an identity and get them thinking too. It improves vocabulary and they become articulate with words,” says Craig.
“Certainly, we cannot remove technology from our lives, but we have to be aware of little things such as reading aloud to children, about the world of books and the story-telling,” Richard says.
Richard likes to tell stories that make children laugh, cry and run their blood cold. He chooses traditional stories and improvises them to suit the tastes of children.
“India is home to so many stories and we have a strong tradition of storytelling. Folk tales have survived because of the strong content. And, these stories travel around the world,” he says.
Craig is bowled over by the Ramayana. “There is so much we can apply to our lives today from the story of the gods. There is action, romance and it teaches you so many things,” he says.
“Nobody is ever too young or ever too old, stories are for everyone,” Richard sums up.K. JESHI